The Quiet Killers: The Dangers of Missed Equipment Checks

A recently released NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) report regarding the Line of Duty Death (LODD) of Philadelphia Firefighter Joyce Craig has revealed the dangers that malfunctioning equipment can present while in the line of duty. The report clearly names a crucial and preventable issue in her breathing apparatus as the principal cause of death - specifically, a worn SCBA air line had failed due to repeated heat exposure and discharged her tank of air.

This failure can be attributed to insufficient inspection which represents a systemic flaw in current equipment management processes. Pen and paper checklists make it hard to not only do checks, but more importantly, it is nearly impossible for the rest of the department to stay up to date with recent checks and ultimately failed checks.

While the fire service has been traditionally slow to adopt technology, there is some technology that cannot wait. In general, and especially in the fire service, problems generally don’t have a simple or one-size-fits-all solution. However, in this case we are lucky enough to be living in an age that has a simple and life saving solution. Modern apparatus management software has the ability to not only correct, but anticipate, our reporting mistakes. With an easy-to-use mobile application, you can check if the proper inspections have been done on all your equipment. Moreover, you can do so from the palm of your hand, anytime, anywhere. Even better, if someone misses a check or if something is reported as broken, you get an instant notification relaying that information. Meaning, as you ride on the back of a truck to a call, you can see a notification indicating that 30 seconds ago someone spotted a worn out air hose on your SCBA.